Born in Buenos Aires, mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink studied at the Arts Institute of the Teatro Colón. In 1985, she won Argentina’s New Lyric Voices prize and moved to Europe. Fink has sung with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Dresden Staatskapelle and the Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of such conductors as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, René Jacobs, Sir Neville Marriner, Riccardo Muti and Sir Simon Rattle. She has appeared in opera productions throughout Europe and at the Teatro Colón. In 2002, Fink won a Grammy Award for her solos in the St Matthew Passion recorded under Nikolaus Harnoncourt. She sang the arias from the first chorus with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the March 2008 Passion performances with Iván Fischer. She gave a 2002 solo performance with the orchestra in Falla’s El amor brujo conducted by Mariss Jansons. Fink also sang the contralto part in Mahler’s Third Symphony in February 2010 (RCO 10004).
After completing her studies at the Leipzig Conservatory, German soprano Ricarda Merbeth successively joined the opera houses of Magdeburg and Weimar. She has been a member of the ensemble of the Vienna Staatsoper since 1999, where after making her debut as Marzelline in Fidelio and performing in operas by Mozart and Wagner, she sang the title roles in Richard Strauss’s Daphne and JenYcfa von JanáYcek. In 2000 and 2001, she sang various roles in the new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Bayreuth Festival, where she returned to sing Elisabeth in Tannhäuser under the direction of Christian Thielemann. She has sung that role at the Bavarian State Opera and in Tokyo. She has made appearances at the opera houses of Toulouse, Cologne, Dresden and with the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. Performing both operatic and concert repertoire, Merbeth has worked with such conductors as Myung-Whun Chung, Iván Fischer, Valery Gergiyev, Fabio Luisi, Zubin Mehta and Giuseppe Sinopoli. This performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 marked her first appearance with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
was appointed as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s sixth chief conductor in September 2004. From 1988, he had appeared on many occasions as a guest conductor in Amsterdam. Latvian by birth and a resident of St Petersburg, Jansons won great international acclaim for his exceptional achievements as music director of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra from 1979 to 2000. He then went on to become music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which also gained widespread recognition during his tenure. ￼ Born in Riga, Jansons moved to Leningrad at the age of thirteen, studying violin, piano and orchestral conducting at the conservatory there. He went on to study with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna and Herbert von Karajan in Salzburg in 1969, winning the International von Karajan Foundation Competition in Berlin two years later. In 1973, Jansons was appointed Mravinsky’s assistant with the St Petersburg orchestra, which Jansons’s father Arvid had also conducted. Jansons was appointed music director of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich in September 2003, a post he combines with his work with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. ￼ Jansons has received various national distinctions for his achievements, including the Star of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, conferred on him by His Majesty King Harald V of Norway. He is also an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. In May 2006, the President of Latvia conferred on him the country’s highest honour, the Three-Star Order.
The Netherlands Radio Choir
is the largest professional choir in the country and is closely connected with the Dutch public broadcasting corporation. All its concerts are broadcast on Dutch Radio 4. As part of the public broadcasting series, the choir has performed numerous world and Dutch premieres of works by composers including John Adams, Mauricio Kagel and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and by Dutch composers such as Peter-Jan Wagemans and Klaas de Vries. In addition to the great choral works by composers ranging from Bach to Messiaen, the choir can frequently be heard in older works that are rarely performed. The choir is also regularly involved in concert performances of operas. In addition to the orchestras of the Dutch public broadcasting corporation, the choir performs with various orchestras and ensembles. The choir has worked with such orchestral conductors as Riccardo Chailly, Valery Gergiyev, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons and Jaap van Zweden. The choir’s relationship with the Concertgebouw Orchestra goes back almost to its establishment just after the Second World War. In the last concert season, the choir participated in performances of Stravinsky’s Symphonie de psaumes under the baton of Zubin Mehta and the Dutch premiere of James MacMillan’s St John Passion under the direction of Sir Colin Davis. It will also appear in upcoming performances of Mahler’s Third and Eighth Symphonies conducted by Mariss Jansons. The Brazilian conductor Celso Antunes serves as the choir’s principal conductor.
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
was founded in 1888 and grew into a world renowned ensemble under the leadership of conductor Willem Mengelberg. Links were also forged at the beginning of the 20th century with composers such as Mahler, Richard Strauss, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Schönberg and Hindemith, several of these conducting their own compositions with the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Eduard van Beinum took over the leadership of the orchestra from Mengelberg in 1945 and introduced the orchestra to his passion for Bruckner and the French repertoire. Bernard Haitink first shared the leadership of the Concertgebouw Orchestra with Eugen Jochum for several years and then took sole control in 1963. Haitink was named conductor laureate in 1999; he had continued the orchestra’s musical traditions and had set his own mark on the orchestra with his highly-praised performances of Mahler, Bruckner, Richard Strauss, Debussy, Ravel and Brahms. Haitink also brought about an enormous increase in the number of gramophone recordings made and foreign tours undertaken by the orchestra. ￼Riccardo Chailly succeeded Haitink in 1988; under his leadership the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra confirmed its primary position in the music world and continued to develop, gaining under him international fame for its performances of 20th century music as well as giving memorable performances of Italian operas. Under Chailly the orchestra made many extremely successful appearances at the most important European festivals such as the Internationale Festwochen Luzern, the Salzburger Festspiele and the London Proms, as well as performing in the United States, Japan and China. Riccardo Chailly was succeeded by Mariss Jansons in September 2004. ￼The orchestra was named the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix on the occasion of the orchestra’s hundredth anniversary on 3 November 1988.